Saratoga Springs police Inv. Laura Emanatian was honored Tuesday as the department’s 2012 officer of the year, in part because of her work fighting Internet crimes against children.
Emanatian, who joined the city Police Department in 2001 and became an investigator in 2009, is the first woman to be named officer of the year, police officials said.
“She’s a hands-on, determined investigator,” said Lt. John Catone, head of the department’s investigations unit.
She led the department’s nine investigators in number of cases investigated and arrests made in 2012, he said.
Emanatian, an active member of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, had two difficult but successful cases against Internet predators, Catone said.
One of the cases started last February when police learned a Pennsylvania man was allegedly using the Internet to try to meet an underage girl for sex. Police said Emanatian started a computer dialogue with him as part of the investigation, which took months to complete.
The 51-year-old man traveled from Lancaster, Pa., in July, thinking he would be meeting a 14-year-old girl in Congress Park, Catone said. Instead, he was met by two male police investigators and taken into custody.
The man, William Jamieson, is being prosecuted in U.S. District Court in Syracuse on Internet sex charges.
Another case involved a 55-year-old Rochester man who turned up on the Internet in March, allegedly seeking to have sex with an underage girl. Instead, John Dooley was met May 11 in Saratoga Springs by an FBI agent and city police officer and arrested. He is also facing felony charges in federal court, Catone said.
Catone said Internet crime investigations like these are “in-depth, lengthy and extremely difficult.”
“This type of work by Investigator Emanatian to keep sexual predators away from the children of our community and children all over the state, is one of the many reasons Investigator Emanatian has been selected as the 2012 Officer of the Year,” Catone said.
“It’s nice to be recognized for hard work and dedication,” Emanatian said after the ceremony. “But right now I have to go back downstairs [to police headquarters in City Hall] and get back to my cases.”
She is a graduate of Saratoga Springs High School and SUNY Brockport, holds a master’s degree in criminal justice from Boston University and is working on a master’s degree in public administration at Marist College.
The award was presented Tuesday afternoon in City Hall with members of Emanatian’s family present, along with Police Chief Christopher Cole, Public Safety Commissioner Chris Mathiesen, Assistant Chief Gregory Veitch and Capt. Michael Chowske, who will retire from the department next month after serving for more than 30 years.
The Officer of the Year Award is presented by the department’s Lieutenants Police Benevolent Association, which includes Catone, Lt. Sean Briscoe, Lt. Robert Jillson and Lt. Linda Quattrini. The award originated in the mid-1990s.